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Any doctor or medical bod know the answer to this question about post-mortems? (sorry).

(11 Posts)
abraid Tue 30-Jun-09 15:25:51

Someone I know died suddenly from an unexpected heart attack at the age of 73. She had no history of heart trouble and seemed to be in good health. Will there be a post-mortem or will the hospital doctor sign the death certificate? I believe she was taken to hospital in an ambulance but died almost as soon as she arrived, having lost consciousness on the way.

This isn't a close acquaintance, btw. I am just morbidly wondering what happens in such circumstances and don't like to ask anyone in RL for fear of causing distress. I can't find definitive answers on Google.
Thanks to anyone who can explain and I hope I haven't caused distress to anyone in asking.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 30-Jun-09 15:32:15

It is my understanding (but I'm no expert) that as she was not attended by her GP in the last days, there will be a PM to establish cause of death.

Bucharest Tue 30-Jun-09 15:32:35

AFAIK any sudden death with no doctor in attendance warrants a PM.

Tinker Tue 30-Jun-09 15:33:34

There will be a PM if it was an unexpected/unexplained death.

abraid Tue 30-Jun-09 15:35:14

She died in hospital, so there was a hospital doctor in attendance (obviously ot her GP). But although she was in her seventies, her coronary heart had apparently been quite good.


Haylstones Tue 30-Jun-09 15:35:40

I always thought what Bucharest said but a close family member died recently. She had had heart problems in the past but all was under control and she wasn't receiving treatment or anything. She died very suddenly at home but because of her history they were happy to diagnose natural causes, i.e. heart attack. She was only 50 sad

Tinker Tue 30-Jun-09 15:38:00

I think if they knew she had had heart problems it may be easier to assume cause of death.

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Tue 30-Jun-09 17:25:36

The death will probably be referred to the coroner if she hadn't been in hospital for more than 24 hours. That doesn't necessarily mean that there will be a post mortem though - the coroner will decide based on the notes.

Jux Tue 30-Jun-09 17:28:23

My dad was PMed even though he'd been dieing of cancer for months. There was no doctor there when he finally took his last gasp, though the doc came in the morning and gave a death cert. but dad was PMed anyway. That was a long time ago mind you; things change.

Olihan Tue 30-Jun-09 17:36:27

I think if you haven't seen a doctor for so many days before your death then they will PM but I guess if she was having a heart attack and the paramedics and A&E docs were happy that was what it was then she may not need one. A lot of it depends on the circumstances and nature of the individual death as to whether they decide to or not, afaik.

abraid Tue 30-Jun-09 18:07:29

Thank you all very much!

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